Tag:Alex Rodriguez
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Poll: Players say A-Rod most overrated

By Matt Snyder

The most overrated player in baseball is Alex Rodriguez, according to a poll of 185 major leaguers taken by Sports Illustrated. A-Rod received 18 percent of the vote, and was one of three Yankees in the top five. In fact, the three Yankees named were the top three in all of baseball.

Joba Chamberlain checked in second at 12 percent, with Derek Jeter garnering seven percent of the vote. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth tied for fourth with four percent of the vote each.

Do the players who voted for Jeter understand "overrated" doesn't mean "overpaid?" I'm trying to figure out how many people actually still think Jeter is an elite player, and judging from everything you see on message boards, Twitter or hear on talk radio, pretty much everyone agrees he's washed up.

Chamberlain is an interesting inclusion because his value has not come anywhere near close to the hype that came with him several years ago, but I don't really think any large group of people thinks he's a great -- or an even good -- pitcher at this point.

On A-Rod, he's polarizing, so it's not shocking he'd get the most votes. Still, you rarely see arguments he's the best player in baseball anymore. He's pretty universally regarded as an All-Star but not elite. With nine home runs, 27 RBI, 30 runs and an .824 OPS, that's exactly what he is this season, too.

Papelbon's a tough call. I believe the closer position in general is overrated, but Papelbon himself is having a fine season. Nothing really jumps out about him specifically. Werth is badly overpaid, but the Nationals were pretty well destroyed for that contract from the get-go.

Don't discount these are all East Coast guys, either. The backlash against "East Coast Bias" appears to be alive and well.

It's hard to blame the major-leaguers for voting like this. They probably don't pay a ton of attention to how guys are perceived nationally and instead see the contract numbers of peers. Plus, the general term "overrated" is pretty broad. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what we're supposed to be using to judge.

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 12:09 pm
 

What happens when A-Rod passes Jeter in hits?

Rodriguez, Jeter

By Evan Brunell


In Filip Bondy's New York Daily News piece about the need for manager Joe Girardi to coordinate Derek Jeter's playing time so that he can reach 3,000 hits on or before June 16 comes an interesting note about Alex Rodriguez nearing his own significant milestones.

Jeter is currently pacing to reach 3,000 hits during the week of June 15-21, and the Yankees finish their homestand on the 16th before embarking on road trips to the Cubs and Reds. Obviously, New York would prefer Jeter to get the milestone in front of his fans, but that can't happen unless Jeter stays in the lineup every day and continues his 1.1 hits-per-game pace. In an attempt to keep him in the lineup, the Yankees used Jeter as the DH on Tuesday, but he didn't register a hit.

But A-Rod is closing in on 3,000 himself, notching his 2,720th hit during Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. His .302 career average gives him 188 hits a season, a pace that would earn him 3,000 hits by the end of the 2012 season. However, given that he's only averaged 134 hits the last two seasons and is on a similar pace this year, he'll likely earn the milestone in the first half of 2013, right around the time he bangs home run No. 700.

Bondy then asks the question, fraught with peril: Who will finish with more hits in his career? Jeter or Rodriguez?

Despite being 256 hits behind, it's likely Rodriguez will easily pass Jeter, given that he's one year younger than Jeter and his contract has three additional years on it than Jeter's. Rodriguez already has far more home runs than Jeter, but no one cares about that -- home runs were never part of Jeter's game, and Rodriguez came to town with the edge there anyway.

No, 3,000 hits is a far bigger deal in New York -- and what with performance-enhancing drugs having dulled the luster of home runs, 3,000 hits may be the more significant milestone. Even the possibility that Rodriguez will surpass Barry Bonds for the all-time home-run lead (not as sure a thing to happen as it appeared a few years ago) will be tempered by A-Rod's own admission of steroid use.

Will Yankee fans embrace Rodriguez's pursuit of 3,000 as much as Jeter's? Doubtful. Jeter's own milestone will still be fresh in the minds of many, and they'll be reminded of it when Rodriguez gets his own 3,000th hit as Jeter will still be under contract to New York. Doesn't mean he'll be at shortstop or even in the lineup the day it happens, but Jeter will be there to remind people just how good he was and how much more memorable the payoff of 3,000 hits was, especially given that Jeter's 3,000 will have all come in a Yankees uniform. That underscores the longevity argument: This is a man who is in his 17th season with New York -- 19 in 2013. Rodriguez can't compete with that, even if he'll have been with the Yankees for a decade in 2013.

A-Rod can't compete with longevity, he can't compete with Yankee rings (just one compared to Jeter's five), and he definitely can't compete in cachet, as many Yankee fans regard Rodriguez as a necessary evil. While Yankee fans will celebrate Rodriguez's 3,000 hit mark, it won't have the same impact. He'll join Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs and Paul Waner as Yankees who have over 3,000 hits in a career who played for the Yankees, but he will not be on the Jeter pantheon, even if he'll become just the second Yankee behind Jeter to get 3,000 in pinstripes.

But what if -- more like when -- Rodriguez passes Jeter's career hits mark? Can the Yankees and fans avoid a celebration of that? Let's say Jeter retires after the 2013 season with 3,300 hits, a reasonable number. (This would require Jeter not picking up his $8 million player option.) A-Rod would pass that by the time his own contract expires after the 2017 season. Is that celebrated? It has to be acknowledged, right?

Jeter's legacy will still be fresh in the minds of many, and the vast majority of fans -- front-office included -- won't be keen on celebrating Rodriguez's passing of Jeter. They can probably get around it by noting that it's not a record for hits in a Yankees uniform. Jeter will keep that mark to himself for a very long time. But will it be appropriate for New York to ignore A-Rod's passing of the mark, no matter how many hits he collected in pinstripes?

Sure, the Yankees could always trade Alex Rodriguez by then and avoid the headache. But A-Rod has a contract that makes him virtually untradeable, so that's not happening. In the years to come, New York's going to see significant records set by Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Rodriguez himself. With respect to A-Rod, it's doubtful that even the Yankees know what they'll do when his day comes.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 8:30 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 5:38 am
 

A-Rod to have hip examined

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez says he isn't hurt -- but the team seems to be concerned about his surgically repaired right hip.

Rodriguez will have the hip examined during the team's next home stand, starting Friday against the Mets.

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long suggested to Rodriguez that he have the hip, which Rodriguez had surgery on in March 2009, looked at.

"Kevin's been working with me for a long time. He just felt that we want to make sure that we dot our I's and cross our T's and are diligent and think big picture," Rodriguez told reporters, including Brian Costello of the New York Post.

Manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez has had checkups before, and Rodriguez said he'll continue to have it checked the rest of his career.

"I think you just want to make sure he's OK," Girardi said.

Rodriguez had two homers in Tuesday's win, but was hitting .171/.236/.232 in his previous 21 games. For the season, he's now hitting .250/.340/.492 with eight homers and 24 RBI.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:46 am
 

3 up, 3 down: McCann saves the day

Brian McCann

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brian McCann, Braves -- Like Dante Hicks, McCann wasn't even supposed to be there today. Getting the customary off day in a night game after a day game, McCann came into the game as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, tying the game with a homer off Mark Melancon. Then with a man on in the 11th, McCann came up again and it was the same result, a homer off of reliever Jeff Fulchino, giving the Braves a 3-1 win over the Astros.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Liriano struck out nine and walked one, while giving up three hits and a run in seven innings against the Mariners to snap the Twins' nine-game losing streak. The Twins scored two in the first off Seattle starter Felix Hernandez, giving Liriano all the Twins would need for the victory.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Rodriguez tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth and then gave the Yankees the lead in the sixth with another solo homer. It was a good day for struggling Yankees -- Rodriquez was hitting .171/.236/.232 in his last 21 games leading up to Tuesday's two-homer performance, while Jorge Posada went 2 for 3 in his return to the lineup. The win ended the team's six-game slide.


Cubs defense -- All seven of the Reds' runs in Tuesday's 7-5 victory were unearned, as the Cubs committed four errors in the loss. The first came in the fourth inning with bases loaded and two outs, when Carlos Pena couldn't field a ball hit by pitcher Edinson Volquez that drove in a run, but then pitcher Matt Garza picked up the ball and made a throwing error, allowing two more runs to score and tie the score. In the Reds' fourth-run eighth inning, Kerry Wood's throwing error allowed the Reds to tie the game and put the winning run on third. ANd then after Chris Heisey gave the Reds the lead with a sacrifice fly, the Reds added Cub-assisted run later in the inning when Kosuke Fukudome missed the cutoff man -- and Starlin Castro failed to back it up -- following Joey Votto's double, keeping the team from even getting a play at the plate on Paul Janish, who scored from first. Janish likely would have scored without the miscue, but with it, there was not even a play at the plate.

Angels pitchers -- Anaheim put up a Vin Mazzaro on Tuesday, allowing 14 runs to the A's in a 14-0 loss late Tuesday. Starter Tyler Chatwood gave up seven runs (five earned) and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, Trevor Bell allowed a run on three hits in two innings, Kevin Jepsen allowed five runs on four hits in an inning of work, followed by Rich Thompson allowed a run on a hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Finally Hisanori Takahashi worked a scoreless inning to cap things off for the Angels.

High-price setup men -- The Yankees put Rafael Soriano on the disabled list Tuesday due to "stiffness" and "soreness" in his right elbow, a day after he criticized  the team's offense. Meanwhile, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Joaquin Benoit has lost his job as the team's primary setup man after his three-run eighth inning on Monday. He's allowed 12 earned runs in five innings in his last six appearances, with his ERA up to 7.98. The good news is he's only got two years and $11 million left on his contract after this season.

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 8:11 pm
 

In slump, Rodriguez takes stance back to basics

Rodriguez

By Evan Brunell


Alex Rodriguez, who will likely clear $450 million in career earnings before all is said and done, looked as if he could be on the downward slope of his career after struggling through a torn hip labrum that aborted Mike Lowell's career and saw his OPS dip to .847 in 2010 his second-worst OPS as a full-time starting player. The other time was way back in 1997 as a 21-year-old with a .846 OPS. Naturally, then, the question had to be asked if Rodriguez was done as an elite hitter.

In the beginning of April, it appeared these concerns were ill-founded as he roared out to a .370/.483/.826 start with five home runs in 14 games. Since injuring his oblique in mid-April, however, he's quickly tailed off and has been mired in a slump, although a two-run single in the fifth that propelled New York to victory over Kansas City on Tuesday may finally kick-start him.

Still, the numbers are sobering. From April 24 on, A-Rod is at a paltry .174/.242/.193 with no home runs, dragging his OPS down to .836. Rodriguez has adjusted his swing, hoping that a shorter leg-kick will get him back in the game. A-Rod has been using a high leg kick recently to force himself to stay back and drive pitches on the outer half of the plate which is how pitchers have been approaching him lately. That's been scrapped, and he's going back to a low leg kick as he realized he was leaning too far back which messed up his timing and balance.

"I thought with the higher leg kick, it would buy me more time," Rodriguez told the New York Post. "In reality ... it doesn’t. [You have to] just let the ball travel. What you want to do is chop the ball like wood."

"He just hasn’t swung the bat very well since that second game in Baltimore," manager Joe Girardi said, calling back to the April 23 game in which he drove in six runs, but A-Rod's problems had started a few games before that.

"He’s still not perfect, but RBI guys find ways to drive in runs and that’s what he did for us [Tuesday] and we really needed that, that was the difference in the ballgame." (Follow the Yankees game on Wednesday.)

Putting aside for the fact the wonky idea of calling A-Rod an RBI guy (seriously, the man is a middle-of-the-order power-hitter; of course he's an RBI guy), the Yankees have gone 9-8, which has allowed the Rays to sneak up to a game behind New York for the division lead at 20-15, while the Red Sox are aiming to get over the hump of .500 which they should do in short order.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:44 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Kennedy outshines Lee

Ian Kennedy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks -- Nobody -- or at least this nobody -- expected Kennedy to do much against Cliff Lee and the Phillies, but what did he do? He threw a three-hit shutout against the Phillies. Kennedy struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter. And it wasn't even his best night this week. Early Sunday morning Kennedy and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child. Heck of a couple of days for Kennedy.

Philip Humber, White Sox -- The Chicago starter was superb on Monday. The White Sox had lost 10 of 11 entering Monday's game in the Bronx and the right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Alex Rodriguez's single. Humber was able to get out of the jam and left the game after that inning, stranding two runners while protecting a one-run lead. The 2004 first-round pick by the Mets is now 2-2 with a  3.20 ERA this season.

Brandon Wood, Pirates -- The former Angels prospect doubled in his Pittsburgh debut, driving in the eventual winning run in a 4-2 victory over the Nationals. Wood drove in two with the fourth-inning double.

Starlin Castro3DOWN

Starlin Castro, Cubs --  Talk about a bad night for the Cubs talented young shortstop, not only was he hitless in five at-bats, he had three errors in the Cubs' loss to the Rockies. All three of his errors came in the three-run Rockies second, with all three runs unearned.

Jamey Carroll, Dodgers -- With a 4-3 lead, two on and two out in the ninth, Jonathan Broxton got an easy ground ball from Florida's Scott Cousins to seemingly nail down the Dodger victory, except Carroll booted the ball, allowing the tying run to score. Omar Infante followed with a liner misplayed by Jerry Sands to score the winning run.

Colby Lewis, Rangers -- The Texas right-hander gave up back-to-back homers to Toronto's Corey Patterson and Jose Bautista, then walked a batter and gave up another homer, to Juan Rivera, in a six-run fifth inning. In 22 innings this season, Lewis has allowed eight home runs. He dropped to 1-3 with a 6.55 ERA.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 8:51 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 9:11 pm
 

No-hitter alert: Humber through 6

By C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE: Alex Rodriguez's grounder up the middle with one out in the seventh broke up Humber's no-hit bid. After getting Curtis Granderson to ground out to start the inning, Humber walked Mark Teixeira before giving up the single to Rodriguez. Humber struck out Robinson Cano and then got Nick Swisher to ground out to end the inning and preserve Chicago's 1-0 lead after seven innings.

------

Philip HumberIn our most surprising no-hitter watch so far this season, White Sox right-hander Philip Humber has held the Yankees without a hit through six innings in New York.

Humber, a first-round pick out of Rice in 2004 that has played for the Mets, is making his fourth start of the season and sixth of his career. Humber, who was part of the Johan Santana in 2008, pitched for the Royals last season and was claimed off waivers by the Athletics in December, only to be waived by Oakland in January when he was claimed by Chicago.

Humber hit a batter and walked one, while striking out four.

Yankees starter A.J. Burnett has been almost as good, allowing a run on two hits. The White Sox lead 1-0 in the seventh.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Jeter, Cashman have contentious relationship

Jeter, Torre, Cashman

By Evan Brunell

Derek Jeter's relationship with GM Brian Cashman took a public hit this past offseason, when words were exchanged between both camps among the contentious negotiations that framed Jeter's eventual three-year, $51 million contract to return to the Yankees.

In "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter," Ian O'Connor writes about Cashman asking Jeter to his face what number the Yankees would have to pay over and above the highest offer from any other team to be considered fair as ESPN New York relays.

"You said all you wanted was what was fair," the GM asked after Jeter expressed how angry he was at how negotiations had been public, rising to leave 45 minutes into what would be an four-hour meeting between his agent Casey Close and representatives and Cashman along with president Randy Levine and co-owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Later, Levine would meet with Jeter the day before the contract was signed and allowed himself to be talked into approving an additional $4-5 million in incentives for Jeter's deal after the 36-year-old appealed to Levine.

But as O'Connor reveals, it was not the first run-in that Jeter had with Cashman.

When Alex Rodriguez came to the Yankees in 2004, it was well-known that he and Jeter, former best friends, no longer got along. The friendship, broken by Jeter's choice, was not revitalized upon A-Rod's arrival in New York and it was clear to even the uninitiated viewer that the Yankees captain was not pleased with Rodriguez. In 2006, things came to a head when both Jeter and Rodriguez attempted to catch a pop-up that ended up falling to the dirt. Jeter gave Rodriguez a death stare that was easily seen by everyone in the stadium and on TV.

Manager Joe Torre spoke to both players about the drop, but declined to get further involved when Cashman asked Torre to speak to Jeter about showing up Rodriguez. As what appears to be a pattern when it comes to Jeter, Torre declined to pursue the issue, leaving it to Cashman.

"Listen, this has to stop," the GM told Jeter. "Everybody in the press box, every team official, everyone watching, they saw you look at the ball on the ground and look at him with disgust like you were saying, 'That's your mess, you clean it up.'"

Jeter refused to believe Cashman about how his actions were perceived, but Cashman pressed on, asking Jeter to improve his relationship with A-Rod, something a friend of Jeter's supported.

"Now you're sounding like everyone else," the shortstop told the friend. "Don't you think I've tried? I try, and sometimes I've just got to walk away and come back and try again, but you know I've tried. And every time I try, he'll do something that pushes me away."

Since then, while the two players aren't close, there haven't been any public incidents to indicate Jeter's distaste for A-Rod. It certainly helps that Rodriguez has gone through his own learning process, first admitting using steroids and scaling back some of his dumber PR decisions.

Jeter has struggled to start the year although he ripped off a 4-for-6 showing Sunday. But while his offense is only recently coming under fire, his poor defense has been a concern for much longer. That aspect of Jeter's game became an issue in 2007, when Torre yet again refrained from addressing the issue. Cashman told Jeter to his face that he needed to improve his fielding in the offseason, declining to have new manager Joe Girardi run the meeting so their relationship in the early going would not be harmed. Much to his surprise, he found out Torre had not talked to Jeter about improving his range and about a potential move to center field, as Cashman had been led to believe.

"You mean to tell me we were trying to win a championship every year," Jeter reportedly told Cashman, "and there was a way for me to get better to help us do that, and nobody told me? ... I want to do everything I can to get better."

But this time, Jeter and Cashman were on the same page.

"I don't think you should have a problem with trying to get better," Jeter would later say. "It's important to get better and to be willing to listen."

You can't really fault either side here. Cashman is simply doing his job, and sometimes that requires playing the bad cop. For Jeter's part, he's clearly open to improving aspects of his game, both on and off the field, despite his massive success to date. While both sides have clashed in the past and will surely clash again before it's all said and done, both sides are doing it with one goal in mind: winning championships.

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PHOTO: Derek Jeter #2, Gary Sheffield #11, manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman talk during batting practice before the game against the New York Mets on May 21, 2006 at Shea Stadium.

 
 
 
 
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